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Actress Paz de la Huerta’s new suit against Harvey Weinstein adds Disney, Miramax

Actress Paz de la Huerta
Actress Paz de la Huerta in 2012.
(Gustavo Caballero / Getty Images)

The legal troubles involving sexual misconduct accusations against Harvey Weinstein continue to mount.

On Tuesday, actress Paz de la Huerta filed a new complaint against the disgraced movie producer, adding Walt Disney Co., Miramax Co., Bob Weinstein, former Disney chief Michael Eisner and current CEO Bob Iger as defendants.

The suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, claims assault, sexual battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It replaces De la Huerta’s earlier 2018 civil suit in which the actress alleged that Weinstein raped her twice in December 2010 in her New York City apartment. It is one of several civil suits pending against the former film mogul.

This latest suit comes amid growing frustrations among litigants and delays concerning a proposed $44-million civil settlement between Weinstein, his former film studio’s board and a number of women who have accused the disgraced movie mogul of sexual misconduct.

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This week, Weinstein was charged with two new counts of sexual assault in Manhattan Supreme Court, pushing his criminal trial back a few months, to January 2020 from September. The Hollywood producer behind such Oscar-winning hits as “Shakespeare in Love,” “Chicago” and “The King’s Speech” was fired from his company in October 2017 after dozens of women accused him of sexual misconduct.

Aaron Filler, De la Huerta’s lawyer, said the new filing arises out of concerns “that a [civil] settlement won’t go forward.”

The settlement would resolve numerous lawsuits filed against Weinstein dating back to 2017. However, negotiations have stalled because of numerous hurdles, including Weinstein Co.'s bankruptcy filing, feuding among different parties over the payout to alleged victims and the delay in Weinstein’s criminal trial.

The proposed settlement has been roundly criticized by some as offering inadequate compensation to the women while enabling Weinstein and the directors of Weinstein Co. to evade accountability or liability. Lawyers for two of the accusers rejected the proposal outright.

The new lawsuit contends that Disney may be liable for Weinstein’s conduct. Disney acquired Miramax in 2003 and parted ways with Harvey and his brother and business partner, Bob Weinstein, in 2005. It sold Miramax in 2010.

Although the actress alleges Weinstein raped her in 2010, the “drive for the assault” happened years earlier, according to the lawsuit. The suit asserts, “Weinstein developed an immoral and unwholesome interest in [De la Huerta] sexually when she was 14 years of age.” The suit alleges that Miramax rented an apartment from De la Huerta’s mother next door to their residence that “was used significantly for the illicit sexual activities of Harvey Weinstein.”

Filler contends that both Weinstein and De la Huerta still receive residual payments from their work with Miramax (the actress had a role in the 1999 Miramax film “The Cider House Rules”). “The attack came out of workplace contact,” he said.

A spokesperson for Disney said, “The Weinsteins operated and managed their business with virtual autonomy. There is absolutely no legal basis for claims against the company and we will defend against them vigorously.”

Lawyers for Miramax were not immediately available for comment. Weinstein has denied engaging in nonconsensual sex.

“Reading the complaint highlights how it has absolutely no merit and was only filed against all named defendants as a means of extortion,” said Elior Shiloh, an attorney for Weinstein. “Mr. Weinstein will defend himself against this unfortunate shakedown.”


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